What's Going On?
Bill Roggio has a roundup of the continued offensive against al-Qaeda and both Sunni and Shia tribal leaders in and around Taji have banded together to fight the Mahdi Army and al Qaeda, in the continuing Coalition effort to raise the grassroots against the terrorists. After reading that, you may want to listen to Glenn Reynolds interview Michael Yon. Also, here's the Iraqi National Security adviser arguing that things are getting "better".
Now suppose one were inclined to be skeptical that things were getting better and dismiss these reports as wishful thinking. What kinds of things would you need to see before you were willing to grant that "progress" might actually be happening? And would such indicators, if present, be sufficient to alter an inclination to withdraw from Iraq?
The question is more than hypothetical because if things were getting better the most important thing to ask is why they are getting better, if indeed they are. Then it would be possible to rationally assess whether a withdrawal or a drawdown or even an augmentation would have any effect, positive or otherwise. Some hypothesis of the machinery at work would go a long way towards weighing whether Option A or Option B were best. Of course, the pitfall is that because the situation is dynamic, it may be the case that the key factors for success will change in the future.